Now that we have narrowed down our field of options, we are only left with the mammoth task of finding the perfect caravan for us, which probably doesn’t even exist!
We aren’t experts, and we have never owned a caravan, so here is how we decided which to get!
The really offroad vans – Kedron and Bushtracker
These would be a gimme choice… Durable, reliable, great proven track records all around Australia in the toughest conditions. Build to go offroad and be used. That all sounds fantastic, let’s do it! Just get out your metaphorical chequebook ladies and gents, because you will be up for $100,000 to $180,000. I hope your heart is ok, mine did a flip when I saw those kinds of numbers. NOT TO SAY THAT THEY AREN’T WORTH IT! They may very well be worth every cent, and they have certainly built their reputations as great caravans, which isn’t easy to do in this industry. Unfortunately for us, this was just really out of our budget, even if the resale on them would be great. (That is if you can find them for sale of course..)
The cheaper vans – Newer brands
There are a bunch of these, that seem to be pop up builders that come and go in the industry. They usually pick a bird name or something, and tend to all be built similarly, usually in Victoria. We think they probably have their place, but at the end of the day if a manufacturer goes out of business, your resale value tanks. These guys seem to specialize in chucking a bunch of shiny things that “Caravan buyers want” slapdash onto a chassis that they have bought from someone else. We aren’t really looking for this. They tend to be light, especially the offroad models and we think there is probably a reason for it. Lots of blue LED lighting is used and the most aggressive tread pattern tyre they can find. Usually there is very little customer feedback online due to the companies closing and resurfacing again.
There are quite a few of these “Mid-Tier” brands, as I call them. They seem to put together a pretty decent product for most people at a reasonable price. Think New Age, Retreat, Sunseeker, Jayco (I suppose) and a few others.
We are hoping to land around here somewhere, and we did.
After weeks of looking online and in caravan displays, and putting all options into our detailed spreadsheet (if you follow us for a while you will soon learn we only make big decisions after putting all options into a very detailed spreadsheet) we found a 2017 Retreat Fraser 219B in Victoria that seemed to fit the criteria perfectly. It was reasonably new, excellent condition, features that we needed and the price was smack on budget. So we hit the road and went to inspect with the intention to buy it if it was exactly as the advert stated.
Stay tuned for a detailed post about our new home on wheels.